In regards to getting older

I love T.S. Eliot.  I’ve heard it said that sometimes TS can be a bit of a bummer. I love Part Five, of “East Coker” and find it very optimistic, in a roundabout sort of way.

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

I love it. Here we have one of the best poets ever, and he feels like an incompetent hack at his craft. But that’s not the point in art, sport, life, relationship with God. “For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”

For me more than twenty years have passed since I became an adult. And even though my body and mind are not as strong or flexible, and I certainly don’t feel any wiser, I just need to keep trying.


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